NewDelhi/Nagpur: Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked the Narendra Modi government in Lok Sabha over the reported scrapping of a mega food park project in his constituency of Amethi, accusing the Prime Minister of practicing politics of revenge and not “politics of change” which he had promised.
As the Congress vice-president fired yet another salvo at the government over the issue of farmers, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured him that he would look into the matter and inform Mr. Gandhi, insisting that the Centre believed in taking all parties along for the country’s development.
Raising the issue in the Zero Hour, Mr. Gandhi said he had “liked” Mr. Modi’s promise in Amethi during the poll campaign that he did not believe in the politics of revenge and was there to practice politics of change.
“Politicians offer promises to people and the one made by the Prime Minister is the biggest… What he is doing is politics of revenge,” he said, adding that the Centre had scrapped the project in his family pocket-borough which would have benefited farmers in 10 districts. Congress members protested with cries of ‘shame, shame’.
BJP members often interrupted Rahul as he highlighted how he worked to have the food park project allotted to Amethi after farmers’ raised the issue with him.
At one point, Mr. Gandhi retorted to the continuous disruptions by the ruling party members, “I am not talking about suit but potato. You should not be scared.” He was referring to his ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’ jibe at the Modi government at an earlier occasion in the House.
Talking of the farmers’ concern, he said, “They asked me what is this magic that they sell potato for Rs 2 per KG but a packet of chips having not more than one potato’s content sells for Rs 10. They said if they could sell potatoes directly to factories, then they would benefit more. The project happened slowly,” the Congress leader said.
Taking Mr. Gandhi on, the Minister said he was born to a family of farmers and the Congress leader’s knowledge was “limited” as one potato’s content cost up to Rs. 70 in a chips packet.
Mr. Singh said as far as he knew, it was the company behind the mega food park which pulled out.
“I will have the matter looked into and personally inform you,” the Home Minister said. Amid the sparring between treasury benches and the opposition, Mr. Singh was heard asking his party members to keep quiet and let him speak.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Mr. Gandhi said, “As politicians, our credibility is based on our work. What we say should carry some weight.
“During election campaign, the Prime Minister came to Amethi and in his speech he mentioned that he will do politics of change.
“The Prime Minister mentioned that he is not going to do politics of revenge but silently this food park project was killed or attempt was made to shut it down. I feel that this is bad for the farmers and it is bad for the credibility of the Prime Minister.”
He said the Prime Minister had expressed his views in front of everyone, and “it does not do much for his (PM) credibility if he goes back on it“.
Asked about Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s reply inside Parliament where he assured that the government would look into the matter, Mr. Gandhi said that there was “nothing to see” and his party will give the government some time.
“There is nothing to see. The project has to be implemented. There is nothing hidden that one has the need to see into it. Either the project will be approved or it will be terminated. But let’s see. Let’s give them sometime,” he said.
Rajnath Singh, however, dismissed the allegations.
“There is no question of doing any politics of revenge with anybody. I have said what I had to say,” Mr. Singh told reporters.